Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Random Linkage

Beautiful Blue Eyes - Believe it or not the photo is real.

Cynthia Mosser Art - Some lovely abstract paintings

105 Year Old Cyclist - You're never too old.

Parallel Dimensions - Interesting old book.

Paul Michael Smith Photography - He makes photos of historic scenes using miniatures.

Dragon Stones - Beautiful paintings of dragons on small stones.

Disney Meets Dali - A forgotten collaboration. I love it.

Studio Soo Flower Shop - More miniatures

Route 66 Then and Now - a series of GIFs, many of Oklahoma

Thomassons - "preserved architectural relics which serve no purpose"

Geeky Valentines Day Cards

Illustrations by Antanas Gudonis - Fascinating. More

Friday, January 27, 2017


It's been nearly a week, I think, since I finished Hilldiggers, a stand-alone novel by Neal Asher, set in his Polity universe. I think it might be my new favorite Neal Asher novel. Typically, Asher's stories are extremely violent and gory. (and I'm not saying that as a criticism, just a statement of fact) Hilldiggers certainly has its share of violence but it seems less over-the-top than most of his novels so it feels more like a classic space opera. It's also a very political story with several entities, mis-trustful of each other, about to start an interplanetary war.

After that I immediately started reading Dark Intelligence, another Asher novel and I have its sequel War Factory so I guess you could say that I'm bingeing on Asher right now. I guess you could say that fictional violence is cathartic and we need that with the real world in the situation it's in right now, but aside from the violence and gore these stories are extremely interesting. Asher's take on the AIs-take-over-the-universe scenario is the opposite of what we usually see. The AIs are the good guys and most humans feel that they do a better job of running things than humans do. The AIs are not perfect though. They are, in fact, not completely different from humans in their behavior and can even go insane.

A few days ago I saw an ad somewhere for Binti. It looked intriguing and the Kindle version is only $2.99 so I downloaded that and I'm looking forward to reading it. I haven't yet downloaded Bleak House. It's free and it'll be there when I'm ready for it. I am ready for it and for Binti and for the next Neal Asher novel and more. The reader's dilemma: so many books!

One of my Christmas gifts was Football for Dummies. I did half jokingly say that I wanted it. I've been reading it off and on a little bit at a time. It's very dry, like a particularly dull textbook, and it really is for complete football dummies. I have read very little in it that I hadn't already figured out just from watching football. I'm not even halfway through it though so I'm still hopeful that it will contain some information that I don't know.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe's birthday was last week and Electric Literature commemorated the day with celebrity readings of The Raven. I haven't listened to them all yet. Five readings of The Raven in one morning seems like a bit much. Naturally, I started with James Earl Jones.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I'll Remember That - Not!

One of the hardest things for me to remember is that I don't remember things as easily as I used to. Last week I heard a song on the radio and for some reason thought about looking up the video of it and posting it here, then I thought, "Oh that would be the perfect song for inauguration day." So I decided to wait but now, the inauguration is two days away and of course I can't remember what song it was that I was going to post. It would have been so appropriate in a negative, darkly humorous, cynical way. I still have two days to remember it but I don't have high hopes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

America's First Female President

I know it's extremely early for this but my cat Dax (named after a character on ST:DS9) would like announce that she will be running for President of the United States in 2020.

I know there will be some questions but I assure you that she is qualified. She was born in the United States though I admit there might be a problem if anyone demands that she present a birth certificate. Her equivalent age in human years will be 68 in 2020.

More importantly, she has no ties to any foreign governments or to any large corporations. She is, for the most part, quite honest. She has literally never told a lie. She has on a few occasions tried to steal the dog's food and she has been seen licking her own butt but she has never tried to hide these habits and we do not think they will interfere with her ability to serve the nation as President, especially when you consider the habits of some former and soon to be Presidents.

Dax is a peace lover but she does believe in self-defense when necessary. She is in favor of universal health care and enough food for everyone (as long as she gets hers first) so, at heart, she's a Democrat but, as her chief advisor has observed, labels are what is most important to people and since it has recently been demonstrated that Republican voters will vote for anyone as long as he or she is Republican, after much soul searching Dax has decided to run as a Republican.

We hope that she can count on your enthusiastic support.

Friday, January 13, 2017

This 'n' That

Reader-in-Chief - This is wonderful and it also makes me sad because our next president probably never read anything that didn't tell him how to make more money. I think my tastes in reading probably don't overlap much with President Obama's but I already know I want to read some of these and I will look up reviews of some others. There are two that I have already read: Heart of Darkness, which I didn't care much for, and Moby Dick. Also, I think I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was just a kid but I can't remember for certain. I might have only seen the movie. And of the children's books, I owned one: Harold and the Purple Crayon, and it makes me so happy that the president recommended a book I loved when I was a child. I won't bother to list those I want to read and might want to read but I will refer to this list later. Oh, and I love the photo at the top of the article - the president wearing jeans and hanging with his daughters at the library like any normal dad.

One of the most beautiful things I've seen recently: A Rosy View is a site devoted to beautiful pictures of roses. It includes names and is organized by color.

Odd. A Tumblr devoted to a curious absence of ears

I recently started following Emergency Kittens on Twitter. (Donald Trump followed then unfollowed Emergency Kittens. Hmmm... so many questions. What does it mean? [/sarcasm] I think it's too bad he unfollowed. A daily kitten might have been good for him.) There's also a website. Keep refreshing the page to see more kittens.

I love this wonderful collection of happy historic photos. The headline says there are "10+". I have looked at the first 40 so far.

Great collection of photos of an old pencil factory in Portugal. I just love everything about this. (Via Messy Nessy Chic)

Artist Suzanne Moxhay creates photo montages of abandoned places and nature. I seem to be using the words "love" and "wonderful" a lot lately but I love these; they're wonderful.

And finally, what the heck is an otomatone? Well, I'm not sure you really want to know but here ya go anyway.

That's actually not entirely bad. In fact, I think, creepy but really pretty good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Tree

One of my favorite things when I was a little kid was my mother's old collection of scenic View Master reels. They were, in a way, my "internet". They showed me the world (actually, only parts of the US) and I spent many hours looking at them and pretending I was looking out the window of a bus or passenger train. Most of the reels have copyright dates in the late 1940s, about 10 years before I was born. They were still in perfect condition in the 1960s and 70s but now most of the transparencies are faded, dirty, or damaged. This one is still in fairly good condition.

One of the images is of a giant redwood tree with a tunnel carved through it for cars to drive through, so when I heard that the Tunnel Tree had fallen in a storm it was almost like I was reading about another celebrity death. But it turns out that it's not the same tree. The tree on the View Master is the privately owned Chandelier Tree.

This is the Tunnel Tree, also known as the Pioneer Cabin Tree.

And now...

This is very sad. It was a famous tree so it's still sort of like a celebrity death but I have to admit I'm relieved that "my" tree is still standing.

Monday, January 9, 2017


My latest read was Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh, the final book in the Ibis trilogy. I discovered it here. (You really should go read that. It's a much better review than mine will be.)

The Ibis trilogy is set in the first half of the 19th century in India and China and is about people involved in and affected by the opium trade. It's a fascinating, rich, epic story and I highly recommend it. Since the author is Indian you might imagine that the British are the bad guys in this story and, on the whole, they are but on an individual level it's well balanced. The characters on all sides are realistic and well developed and the story highly complex and, though it's serious overall, there is subtle humor throughout.

The first two books in the trilogy, which must be read in order, are Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke.

* * * * *

I am ready to get back to science fiction for a while. I have started Neal Asher's Hilldiggers and have two more new Neal Asher books waiting: Dark Intelligence and War Factory. On the other hand, after reading this article, The Many Bad Moms of Charles Dickens I was suddenly possessed by a desire to read Bleak House immediately. I'll go ahead and download it but my history of trying to read two books at the same time is not good. I always end up neglecting one or the other. In fact, I have a couple of books on my Kindle that I never got around to finishing for this reason.

So... lots of reading to be done and there's also sewing and my house desperately needs cleaning but I'll try to not neglect this blog quite as much as I have been recently.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year

Oh my! It's a new year so I should probably have a cheerful, positive kind of post up instead of leaving the "2016 sucked" post at the top for days and days. Well, let's see... I do have one thing. I discovered Literary Hub a couple of days ago on Twitter. Twitter seems to be a much more rewarding site than Facebook for discovering worthwhile things on the Internet. So now I'm wondering, why did I not know about Literary Hub sooner. So many wasted days. I've missed so much.